According to analysts, the availability of a plethora of operating systems for smartphones will further bring down prices and even make the gadgets a mass-market product

Slim is in, not only in the fashion world, but also in the tech world, with gadgets ranging from smartphones to personal computers adopting a sleeker avatar in 2010.

The growing desire of consumers to carry their world in their pockets has not only forced handset-makers to come up with slim and sleek phones, but also personal computer-makers to innovate and come up with a different form factor for PCs.

2010 saw the launch of new tablet devices, which added to the excitement.

Although Apple’s iPad is yet to arrive in India, the Dell Streak, Olive Pad and Samsung Galaxy Tab were launched in the second half of the year.

The competition was not just about going sleek, but getting smarter as well. In 2010, smartphones continued to attract more share of the average Indian’s wallet, a trend that was seen in previous years as well.

“Smartphones are the fastest growing market segment, registering over 50 per cent growth in 2010 over 2009. Smartphone sales are expected to grow 60 per cent in 2011 over 2010,” global IT research firm Gartner’s Principal Analyst, Anshul Gupta, told PTI.

Going by analysts, the availability of a plethora of operating systems for smartphones will further bring down prices and even make the gadgets a mass-market product.

Moreover, the emergence of new and low-price brands - especially in growing markets such as India and China - has also resulted in higher sales of smartphones.

The new features in smartphones include 3G, or third-generation, data transfer capabilities and versatile applications, such as pre-loaded e-book readers.

Sales of mobile phones in India are expected to reach 155 million units this year and jump further to over 225 million units in 2014.

Currently, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Asus, HTC, Blackberry, HTC and Dell offer smartphones in India, with a price tag ranging from Rs. 6,500 to Rs. 31,000.

As per global IT and telecommunications research and analysis firm International Data Corporation (IDC), emerging mobile phone-makers in India accounted for 33.2 per cent of total handset shipments in the April-June quarter of 2010.

With the latest features and innovations being made available even on low-price handsets, the thin line between a basic and a smart handset is also blurring.

A mobile today has become the ‘Swiss Knife’ of the modern world, because while it might not have a corkscrew or a nail cutter, it is a phone, a data-handler and a one-stop gadget for all entertainment and communication needs.

Smartphone vendors have been able to carve a niche for themselves by pioneering feature-rich (dual SIM card, full QWERTY keyboard) and application-rich (instant messenger-enabled) mobile handsets at attractive price points.

“The smartphone market will grow many-fold next year. The prices are reasonable and will come down further. With the coming up of 3G technology in India, the market for smartphones will have a push,” Nokia India Director - Operator Channels V. Ramnath said.

“The smartphone market in India has huge potential for growth and has become a focus market for major players worldwide. The introduction of Android-based handsets has had a significant impact on the variety of handsets available and the overall increase in affordability of smartphones,” Dell India Consumer & SMB General Manager Mahesh Bhalla said.

Keywords: gadgetssmartphoneAndroid